The convenors of the “Unearthing Memories” Panel at the upcoming RAI 2020 Conference, Anthropology and Geography, welcme contributions by scholars who work on how diverse modes of engagements with topographies are intricately and affectively related to abjected/unaccounted collective memories. Striving to create an interdisciplinary dialogue and discussion, we invite researchers from a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to, anthropology, geography, architecture, and memory studies.
Panel B10: Unearthing Memories: Remembering and Forgetting as Subterranean Practices
Postcolonial, psychoanalytic, and feminist theorists have highlighted the divergences between nationalist historiographies and other modalities of remembering or forgetting. Challenging universalist and homogenous
approaches to time and narrative, these theorists have attended to the localized, incoherent, and fragmented ways in which individual and/or collective memories operate, citing as examples trauma victims or subaltern
communities whose relations to the past are severely curtailed through colonial-modernist framings. This postcolonial, psychoanalytic and feminist attention has been characteristically charged with material and spatial
import; place, geography, topography, objects and the body have been explored as the media of the localizations, incoherences and fragmentations in question.
Despite this interest in materiality and space, the conventions of narrative-based remembering or forgetting have yet to be deprived of their hegemonic status, as affective potentialities unassimilable within the
contours of memories *qua* narratives remain underexplored. This panel seeks to explore these potentialities by focusing on how the topographies and materialities in which one dwells affects the remembering or forgetting
of the past and the forgings of identity. It explores subterranean modalities of remembering and forgetting as indicated not only by the unearthly practices of magic, curse and haunting, but also by daily and mundane—earthly—engagements such as farming and burial. The panel draws on ethnographically grounded accounts that highlight how the practice of unearthing—in both senses of rendering unearthly and digging up from the
earth—might offer a way into the analysis of publicly unacknowledged histories of political violence, abjection, displacement, and destruction as well as individual or collective struggles to assimilate them.
We particularly strive to explore
– How places and materialities evoke pluritemporal sensations of the past and issue forth corporeal, affective, and non-discursive engagements with the past?
– How and why these (un)earthly engagements generate both repulsion and attraction, simultaneously both consolidating and destabilising hegemonic narratives of the history?
– How socioculturally-forged materialities are incorporated into ecologies? Or, how ecological elements come to bear the potentiality to radically alter the political?
– What forms these marginal, evanescent, elusive and contingent experiences take and in which ways they come to mediate between the present and the past?
– How the ‘unruliness’ of places or matter can be thought alongside ethico-political interventions demanding recognition and justice?
– How the potentialities arising from such mitigated sites and objects are foreclosed, further ruined, and/or re-configured through spatial and politico-economic interventions in the present?
We kindly ask those interested to submit their paper proposals here
before 8 January, 2020. The conference is to take place on 4-7 June, 2020